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5 Indispensable Qualities of a Great Leader

5 Indispensable Qualities of a Great Leader

You’ve seen them. Effectively directing the flow of a group activity. All eyes eagerly upon them for guidance and inspiration as they speak or move or…heck, just stand there. Something about their energy is magnetic. So much so, people feel compelled to follow. And this is in preschool.

Some people were born leaders. It’s a fact. No one taught that two-year-old to be the ambassador of the crayons. And yet she takes it upon herself to be just that. Divvying out the amounts she deems appropriate to her fellow toddlers. The good leader will be fair. The bad leader will give the broken ones to the boy who keeps crying for his mother.

Today’s focus is on the good leader, the benefits and how anyone can be one, whether naturally appointed or not. Solid leadership has far reaching effects for both the leader and everyone they come in contact with. Good leaders are essential to the success of most everything  as they not only make for productive and loyal employees, but they also contribute to happy households, healthy friendship circles and enhance truly any social human experience from the PTA to the President.

The truth is this. People who always manage to be in charge in whatever situation do possess some distinctive inherent leadership qualities. And while not everyone may have been born with the scepter to rule the masses, these known characteristics of a leader are available to anyone with the desire to learn.

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Confidence Not Conceit

how to become a better leader

    Leaders, real leaders, don’t think they can do it. They know they can. People who tend to make their way to the top have little to no self-doubt. They are confident in their ability, believe they have something to offer and generally feel they can do a better job than the next guy. This is the healthy confidence a leader possesses.

    Leadership is a position of power, however, so there is always a danger of it going to one’s head. This could be the difference between a good and not so great leader. A good leader knows they are not perfect, which is part and parcel to their other good leadership characteristics. In the workplace, you can bet employees notice confidence levels when they must answer to someone  on a daily basis. If a leader doesn’t exude it, he surely will begin to lose his loyal following. On the flip side, a leader with an overly-inflated ego and an inability to admit fault could encourage harbored resentment and even eventual mutiny.

    If you’re looking to learn how to become a better leader, this is perhaps going to be the most important thing you need to keep in mind.

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    Know Your People/Know Yourself

    No, not just their names and birth dates. Leaders, good leaders, understand who they are leading. What are they about, what are their skills, what are their strong points, what are their goals and needs? In a family, a father knows his kids and treats them as individuals, knowing instinctively how they best fit in and contribute to the family.

    At work, people in leadership roles must pay attention to personalities and strengths and listen to people’s needs and goals. Then they can utilize them in a way that both the employees and the company wins. This also requires the leader take personal inventory to identify their own weaknesses and shortcomings and then draw on the strengths of others by the art of delegating.  A good leader, with good leadership skills, knows how to delegate effectively like this, based on his understanding of himself and his people.

    Communication is Key

    leadership qualities

      Johnny tells Brandy she’s a great skateboarder but not to ride on the asphalt because she could fall since she isn’t that experienced. Brandy nods her head, bats her eyes (hee hee) and happily rides it somewhere else. Johnny, the leader of the group, communicated to his friend why she shouldn’t do something. Instead of getting annoyed, she appreciated it.

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      This is the demeanor of a good leader. Clear communication is essential. A good leader not only reprimands but gives positive, constructive feedback. Everyone needs to hear they did a good job on something. There is no better motivation to keep up the good work. Great leaders have this figured out. In addition, they should in turn encourage honest, non-consequential feedback from their employees.  Leaders may have to train themselves to not get defensive and take it personally — to look at negative feedback as a way to not only self-improve but set an example of how to handle constructive criticism like a boss (no pun intended of course).

      Take the Blame

      As the leader, you’re running the ship. So when something goes wrong, blame yourself. Everyone is looking to you and there is power in taking responsibility. Such a display of accountability will speak volumes and set the perfect example for others to do the same should things go awry.  It’s an excellent show of a leader’s  trustworthiness and integrity. From there, solutions can be found and prevention can be put in place. Taking the blame.  It’s very empowering.

      Maintain a Sense of Humor

      Maintain a Sense of Humor

        It’s just good form. Far too much can go wrong in life – in relationships, at home, at work. Without humor, people could be crying 24/7. But if those in charge can laugh about most things, what a relief for the rest of the crew. There is probably no better way for a leader to create a bond with those reporting to them than to maintain a sense of humor.

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        It dispels tensions, makes things comfortable and opens up lines of communication. It increases staff morale which of course increases productivity in the workplace. Plus, it’s just fun. And who doesn’t want to have fun? Leaders with senses of humor typically develop devout followings because even in the face of crisis, they can count on their leader to diffuse the situation with a good laugh.

        When it comes to developing good leadership qualities, most people hardly focus on this quality. However, it’s certainly a very important one and hence something you must work on.

        You Can Do It

        Bottom line is anyone can be a leader. Just believe you can be without a doubt, understand your people, talk to them about what’s good and bad, teach them accountability by example and be willing to laugh it off if occasionally  they (or you) screw up. Any questions?

        Featured photo credit: Nurturing leadership in the outsourcing industry via wns.com

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        Last Updated on September 18, 2020

        13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

        13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

        For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

        “We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

        “It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

        Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

        You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

        Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

        1. Take a step back and evaluate

        When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

        1. What is the problem?
        2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
        3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
        4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
        5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

        Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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        2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

        If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

        At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

        Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

        3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

        Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

        4. Process your thoughts/emotions

        Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

        1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
        2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
        3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
        4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

        5. Acknowledge your thoughts

        Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

        By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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        Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

        6. Give yourself a break

        If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

        7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

        A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

        Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

        After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

        8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

        As Helen Keller once said,

        “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

        Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

        9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

        In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

        1. What’s the situation?
        2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
        3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
        4. Take action on your next steps!

        After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

        10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

        A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

        Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

        For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

        11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

        No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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        12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

        No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

        13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

        There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

        After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

        Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

        Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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